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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Childhood immunization is a controversial topic; one camp insists that it is responsible for autism and other illnesses and disabilities in children; the other side maintains that vaccination is mandatory in order to prevent epidemics. Here are some recently published books on the topic.

Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten our Human Rights, our Health, and our Children, edited by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, presents a series of articles featuring instances of vaccinations causing illnesses to children, adolescents and adults. They contend that government mandates for vaccination violate individual rights and suggest ways to reform American health policy.

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, written by Paul A. Offit, an infectious disease physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, maintains that the media’s presentation of anecdotal incidence of disease and disabilities caused by vaccinations is playing on parents’ fears. He asserts that epidemic, the end result of not being protected by vaccinations, is far worse, posing a threat to all of society.

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, written by Seth Mnookin, also contends that the media, in an effort to being fair to both sides of the argument, has encouraged certain groups to advance a health-scare hoax. He also points to various anti-vaccination outbursts over the years since the smallpox vaccine was developed as the continuation of an anti-scientific sentiment in society.

The Vaccine Answerbook: 200 Essential Answers to Help You Make the Right Decisions for your Child, written by physician Jamie Loehr, provides detailed information about specific vaccines, their side effects, when it is not recommended to administer them, and when to schedule them for your child. He also explores some of the controversies surrounding vaccines and their purported cause of disabilities.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Birthdays

Martha Stewart – August 3, 1941
Being Martha: The Inside Story of Martha Stewart and her Amazing Life, written by Lloyd Allen, a friend of Martha’s daughter and a former neighbor, paints a flattering picture of her as viewed by her mother, daughter, brother, and others. Less adulatory and more well-balanced is Martha: On Trial, In Jail, and on a Comeback, written by Robert Slater. It is based on a series of in-depth interviews of people who have dealt with Martha. Martha herself is not interviewed. The book mainly focuses on her trial, incarceration and her future projects after release from prison.

Lucille Ball – August 6, 1911
Laughing with Lucy: My Life with America’s Leading Lady of Comedy, written by Madelyn Pugh Davis with Bob Carroll Jr., recounts the stories, both familiar and little-known, of the production of the I Love Lucy show and the other Lucille Ball sitcoms. Davis and Carroll were the show’s co-writers.

Julia Child – August 15, 1912
A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, written by Jennet Conant, tells the story of Julia and Paul’s lives as members of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, long before Julia’s career as a chef took off. Years later, they were involved in another battle when McCarthy-era politics threatened many of their intelligence colleagues including Jane Foster, who actually may have been a Soviet spy.